Ten years ago, I was walking my dog through the overgrown trails of Frick Park in Pittsburgh. When we reached a certain ridge, I stopped. My dog did not want to pause; he was raring to go. But I saw a view that stopped me in my tracks and struck me with awe.
Yet that awe had no name. Those blue hills beyond the Monongahela River have a name, but I still do not know what it is. I avoided their name on purpose. I preferred the way the hills sat as a distant blue wall on the edge of the horizon with the Monongahela meandering gently away from them. A train horn echoed in the distance. I know that if I had wanted to, I could have visited there. Yet, I never did—I left those blue remembered hills alone, untouched on the horizon.
I am certain those hills have had several names over the eons, but for me they remain unnamed. As a young writer, I was struck by Wordsworth’s observation in “The Tables Turned,”“Our meddling intellect/ Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—/ We murder to dissect.” So to name those blue remembered hills, or to dissect their geological history would be to . . .
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